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Media Release: SANParks arrests employee for illegal hunt of game

Date: 27th January 2014

Musina: South African National Parks (SANParks) Environmental Crime Investigators conducted a successful arrest this morning of one of its employees based in one of the national parks under its management. 

This according to SANParks Acting Head of Communications, Reynold Thakhuli who said the suspect whose name cannot be made public before appearing in court is a SANParks employee based in the Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site near Musina, Limpopo. “He has been implicated on a number of illegal commercial hunting activities on state land involving a number of hunting professionals and game meat operators. 

According to Thakhuli, the suspect has been using SANParks official stationery to interest his customers… “and this made these illegal transactions appear to be an activity sanctioned by SANParks.”

He said the illegal hunts happened in the farm Den Staat which is a state owned property and has an open system with Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site as no fence exists between the two properties.  “It was revealed during the investigations that led to arrest of the suspect, that this illegal hunting activity by organized groups has been so severe in that as many as 16 hunting groups would visit the area on certain days even beyond the official hunting season.” 

Thakhuli said about ten suspected illegal hunters have been identified in various provinces including Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.  “They have been positively linked to this illegal activity within a protected conservation area and colluding with the suspect. These suspects include professional hunters and, game meat operators and all will be appearing in court next month.”  

He said some of the hunted animals included a leopard which is classified as a schedule three (3) protected wild animal under the Limpopo Environment Act (Act 7 of 2003). There are a number of charges that the suspect is facing this ranges from: 

  • Bringing SANParks name into disrepute by advertising illegal hunts with price lists using SANParks official stationery and electronic communications
  • Involvement in illegal commercial hunting business for personal gain in a conservation area
  • Falsifying documentation including hunting permits and transportation of game carcasses 
  • Contravening of veterinary regulations (health risk as the activities occurred in the controlled foot and mouth veterinary area)
  • Non declaration of interest in a hunting business 

Thakhuli said this is an indication of SANParks' commitment and seriousness in rooting out unscrupulous employees within its ranks. 

Issued by:     
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications
Tel: 012 426 5170 

Enquiries:     
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli
Acting Head of Communications, SANParks
Tel: 012 426 5203, Cell: 073 373 4999 
Email: rey.thakhuli@sanparks.org

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